I know I perform best when I am at a relaxed state but I tend to forget this when I’m in the thick of things. I tense up and struggle. This has manifested in hasty decisions made, haphazard reactions and sometimes wasteful shortcuts. But over time I have tried to take pause and think things through and not just ride the wave of pressure.
But I need to be reminded of this again and again. So today my spinning class was the reminder. I already know that the last twenty minutes of the session would be tough and as I saw the clock ticking closer to that, I felt my fingers gripping the handlebars. Then I remembered that it would be a waste of energy to do so. As soon as I relaxed and just focused on keeping the core tight and breathing deliberately the challenging climbs seemed more manageable. It wasn’t easier but dealing with it with a bit more flow made a whole world of difference.
The conscious reminder to deal with struggles not just with the default fight or flight tendency is part of everyday mindfulness. It is easy to switch to default mode and feel helpless, without any choice. But the simple act of stopping to notice and assess then do otherwise is a much more intentional state that leaves us feeling less sapped and out of sorts. I’d love to loosen the grip a bit more, adding opportunities of grace instead.